Adventures on Welsh Railways – Part 2

We had an amazing time at Caceres, it exceeded all expectations and I have a couple of hundred pictures to sort through but for today I am going to finish my UK tour posts, otherwise I will get very confused! My final stop on the tour was the lovely campsite Ynys Faig which I chose both for its location and the fact that it is right next to the railway station.

The journey there was beautiful, as I mentioned in my last post, and although the forecast for the afternoon was bad, the gods of camping were with me and I managed to pitch just before it started raining. I was really lucky with all my camping trips, I managed to pitch and strike in good weather and only got rained on a few times. This five days in Wales was the wettest part of the tour but that is only to be expected. There is a reason it is so lovely and green!

Fairbourne is at the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, with fantastic views behind into the mountains and across to the Llyn Penisula. It is a little village with a couple of shops, including a village store that sells absolutely everything, and great transport links, being on the mainline between North Wales and Birmingham. I also chose the site as the village has a miniature railway, which was used originally for mining in the area but which is now a tourist attraction.

I was in train heaven on the trip as not only was there the Cambrian Coast Railway and the miniature train, which I already knew about, but I also spotted another heritage railway on my way there, at the nearby town of Tywyn. The Talylynn Railway is the world’s first preserved historic railway and was developed for the slate industry. It is a gorgeous trip on the narrow gauge track up into Snowdonia and there is plenty of opportunity to get off and walk to various viewpoints and waterfalls. It was such a fun day out, needless to say I loved it and the whole area.

I also went on the Cambrian Coast Railway to Porthmadog, I have many happy holidays there so didn’t spend much time in the town but just went for the amazing train ride, especially the part where it crosses the bridge over the Barmouth Estuary. The moody weather just added to the dramatic scenery.

Barmouth itself was another day out and I combined this with the miniature Fairbourne railway and a trip across the estuary on the outward journey on a little ferry. On the way back I had a quick boat tour of the estuary and that was lovely, especially seeing the bridge from the boat. This was the wettest day so after a good soaking in Barmouth I was very happy to find a lovely cafe with delicious soup and gluten free cake to dry off in.

My final day was a long walk around the estuary, following a little part of the Cambrian Way along the estuary. Again it was a fantastic walk and I would love to go back and do more of the walk the other way into Snowdon one day.

This is an area that Jacky and I would like to go back to so we have added it to our list. I would definitely go back to Ynys Faig campsite again as it was a lovely friendly little site and the best bit was that I was able to hire a firepit! Due to the rain I only used it for 2 nights but it was brilliant to sit and read while watching the flames.

I have preliminary plans for next year’s tour, I will hopefully return to Wales and am also thinking about more of the South West and North Yorkshire. We have lots of lovely events and festivals already planned so fingers crossed they will all go ahead and I can fit my tour stages in between them. We are also working on our travel plans for Spain for when I return, we have just booked a trip to Galicia in May with a coach tour and are working on a trip to Granada as a postponed 80th birthday trip for Mum.

I really am living the dream here, still can’t believe this is my life. I am sitting here looking out of the window at the most glorious sunshine and am off on a bike ride later this afternoon.

This time last year I had just finished my 9th Saturday of term 1 teaching and would have probably been sitting freezing given the horrible storms they have been having. My heart goes out to all of the people who have had damage, especially my lovely friends who were due to trade at the Ludlow Medieval Market which got cancelled due to storm damage on Friday.

I hope that you are all ok and have had a good week. I have an exciting week ahead, our sewing group has been holding a two day workshop to make an etui, (needlework box), which has been great fun so far. This is a rather messy work in progress shot, the process involves a lot of gluing fabric to card to make the box.

I am going to finish that this coming Weds, and then I am off to see the Christmas lights in Alicante next weekend. I am putting my tiny tree up this week, I did manage to bring a few ornaments over from the UK so am looking forward to having those up for a couple of weeks.

I will be back later in the week with some of the Caceres pictures, until the enjoy your week ahead, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Actual crafting going on!

You’d think I would be posting a bit more about actual makes now I am retired, especially as this is supposed to be a craft blog. I have always posted about travel but obviously that has been the main priority of the last few months, although there has been a little bit of making in between all of the adventures.

The big news is that I have finally learnt how to crochet, after several previous attempts. My lovely daughter Ellen was very patient with me, and after lots of encouragement I got to grips with at least two stitches. I still need more practice on trebles, but have been watching some further videos on Craftsy as I got a very good deal on a year’s membership. I decided to make a project while practising my double crochet, and am very proud of what I have done as my stitches are quite neat. The lovely sparkly variegated wool is from our trip to Alnwick earlier this year.

This is a little pouch for my new crochet hooks, as well as the couple I have bought here, I have a set waiting for me in the UK so hopefully Ellen and I will have the chance to do some more crochet when I spend time with her over Christmas. She is now a crochet genius, and has made so many wonderful things.

As I mentioned last post, some things are more difficult to find here. Wool is no problem as all of the Merca China, (a cross between a pound shop and a homewares shop), have a good selection and there is a lot of basic haberdashery. Fabric shops are few and far between, and the postage and import duty since Brexit makes it very expensive to get mail order, so I am going to have a good stock up when in the UK.

I bought this lovely wool, and some Christmas fabric, at the little craft market I mentioned in my last post. The wool will probably be either some crochet, or dresses for animals. I love variegated wool and the rainbow one is so bright! The other ball is very subtle and beautiful shades so I might use that for crochet if I can decide on a good pattern.

The red fabric is going to be used for this year’s set of ornaments. I was looking for something quick to stitch and decided on some Scandi inspired ones before I found this lovely fabric. I am using one of Jenny of Elefantz’s stitching patterns here. The holly fabric will go to back some cross stitch ones that I have had in progress for a few years.

I have also finally completed another Little Cotton Rabbits project, another elephant this time. This is Edward, and he is my 21st animal and my 5th elephant. He is a present for one of my old colleagues, for her grandson. I love making the little outfits and am now pretty confident at the removable shoes. My current LCR knit is a fox and I will be trying the slippers for the first time for that one.

I will be back next week after our latest adventure, we are going to have a really hard time choosing what to visit, I have been doing the research this morning and there are so many museums and palaces, very excited now.

I hope that you have a good weekend ahead, whatever you are doing have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Adventures on Welsh railways – part 1!

When I was planning my UK tour I spent so many hours trying to work out the best route to take. I wanted to also include some heritage railways as well as some of the scenic routes that I have watched on TV. I love trains and so was very excited to be able to go on some amazing journeys on this trip.

Part of the reason why I chose to visit Tenby is that the trainline goes all the way along the coast. I did not have time to visit all of the places on the route, but did have a trip to Pembroke Castle, the place where Henry Tudor was born. I have visited many castles but few in South Wales and this was a wonderful one, it is so magnificent and really dominates the small town.

The interpretation in the castle was very good, and covered the history of the town as well as the Tudor connections. It has been restored to some extent, and there was a beautiful little herb garden that had been created to show what the original would have been like.

One of the very interesting exhibits was a piece of crewel work telling the story of one of the most famous of medieval knights, William Marshal, who was the first Earl of Pembroke. This was done in crewel work, in the style of the Bayeux Tapestry by Pamela Earl and six other embroiders from Sussex, and the piece took 4 years to stitch.

As well as the castle there are beautiful ponds around the side and beyond which were gorgeous so I spent some time talking to the swans and geese there before the return journey.

I left Tenby a couple of days later and took the train back to Carmarthen, passing the castle there. I then had a fabulous bus journey through the Welsh countryside to Aberystwyth. The Welsh railway network is a little limited in the west of the country but being on the bus was a great way to see some more of the countryside, and we passed through many very cute villages before going along the coast.

It was very hot in Aberystwyth, an unusual for the UK 29 degrees the first day. I had booked accommodation (with an all important laundrette!) for a couple of days, so I had a quiet first day on the beautiful beach reading a brilliant book, The Book of Lost Names. I have done so much reading since I finished work, which I love doing, and the day on the beach was a wonderful relaxing time.

The following day there was a little railway adventure on the cliff railway, which meant that I could have a walk along the Ceredigion Coastal path with stunning views over the Ceredigion Bay and over to the Llyn Peninsula, which is the part of Wales that sticks out into the sea just below Anglesey.

I then loaded up the bags again for a wonderful train ride from Aberystwyth to Fairbourne, along the Cambrian Coast Railway. The views around the Dovey Estuary were amazing and I passed another couple of castles as well on the route.

I will tell you about the last part of the tour a little later on as I had five more brilliant days at a campsite on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. I have already started planning my trip for next summer, fingers crossed I may have a camper van by then, as I am going to try and pass my driving test when I am back in the UK for 3 months from Jan. However I had so much fun with my little tent and mini camping kit this year, and it all worked so well, I will be just as happy to do another train and bus adventure. Everything I needed for 5 weeks away fitted into the two bags in the picture below, plus a small rucksack with my books, knitting and IT supplies, so it was a great test of what I could do by train.

We are off on a Spanish train adventure this week, we are going to the medieval walled town of Caceres, in Northern Spain, another trip inspired by travel vloggers, this time Spain Revealed. I am very excited to be doing this, we are going to stay in an apartment within the old part of the city so I will have a wonderful time looking at old buildings, cathedrals and museums! So many lovely things happening, and I am so lucky to be able to be doing all this, it really is a dream come true.

I have also been doing a little crafting, Ellen taught me to crochet while she was here and I have nearly finished my first project. I am also getting sorted with Christmas ornaments, not helped by the fact that I gave away all my Christmas fabric and most of the charms and beads. For some reason I didn’t think that I would be making ornaments here! I have managed to find some things here in the local shops and a very kind new friend from my sewing group took me to a craft market this week where I bought a bit of material. I will stock up on things when I am in the UK as I have the potential to get more storage here. It will never quite be the old craft room proportions but there will be room for a little more stash ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope that you are all well and happy too, and have a good week ahead. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

November sun

I am still getting used to the fact that it is so bright and sunny here, even with the clocks going back we still have daylight until about 6.30pm and the temperatures have been back in the high 20s this week. Ellen has been here and we have had a lovely week, we have been for a walk around the salt lakes to see the birds, including lots of flamingos, had a swim in the sea, been on a couple of coach trips and to the spa.

The sunshine makes me feel so good, although I don’t like it really hot as I burn easily, waking up to blue skies is wonderful. We have had a couple of very impressive thunderstorms with really good lightening, so it does rain sometimes here, but mostly at night.

It was a beautiful day for both our coach trips. We went to the medieval market in a little town in the mountains and to the old town in Altea, which is a beautiful little coastal town with a famous church. The sky was so blue all day and we had wonderful views across to the rock at Calpe.

We went to the church after a delicious tapas lunch at this restaurant in one of the old town houses. We just came across it on our walk up to the church, and it had the most beautiful decor and really delicious food, these are one of our favourite tapas dishes, croquetas.

The church is stunning, both outside and in, the tiles on the roof are very traditional on churches in this area and there were a beautiful selection of statues in the alcoves.

We loved wandering around the streets up to and beyond the church and there were some beautiful little houses . The views of the mountains and the sea were brilliant.

There are some really lovely shops with quirky displays, the umbrellas on this one are gorgeous!

As always there were some stunning doors, I think that this first picture is my all time favourite door, so far.

Ellen left today so I have been busy with some gardening, all of the cacti at the front of my house have been removed and instead I now have beautiful pots with geraniums in. I need to get on with some more decorating as I only have five weeks now before I return to the UK.

I plan to go on a longer bike ride tomorrow as it is going to be about 19 degrees so am looking forward to that. I have also almost finished putting together my latest knitted elephant. Ellen has attempted to teach me to crochet as well, while she has been here so I am going to fit in a bit of practise with that each day as well.

I hope that you have had a good week and are having a nice relaxing weekend. I will be back later in the week with some more of my UK tour pictures. Have fun whatever you are doing, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Mi casa bonita

I am trying to use as much Spanish as I can every day, as well as using my Duolingo app and watching You Tube videos for grammar information, hence the title of my post, as my house is looking very pretty now. I have not had a huge amount to do to it, as I did a major declutter at Christmas, but I have got some new white goods which makes the living area look much more spacious and tidier than before.

The previous layout had a large and very old fridge freezer with a microwave on top, at the end of the lounge units, and the lounge storage was scattered around the room. This really made the place look more cluttered and I was determined to try and get a more streamlined space.

I also had an old bulky TV there which I only ever used for the occasional DVD. Now I have lovely Spanish internet I am back to using my laptop for Amazon and Netflix so have done away with that.

I moved all of the units together onto the one wall and replaced the old fridge with a smaller fridge freezer where the washing machine was. I now have a top loader near the entrance to the bathroom, which works brilliantly. I also found some lovely stickers to go on the kitchen tiles which go perfectly with the new storage jars I have.

The coffee table was from my Mum. She and my aunt often give me furniture and it is great space for crafting as I have my WIP projects and sewing box on the lower shelf.

I was looking for something to go on the wall above the new washing machine, as I have picture hooks in the wall there, and came across this gorgeous door picture at one of the local home stores.

It is the perfect colour and you know how much I love beautiful doors! I am not sure where it was taken but would guess Morocco, although it could be Southern Spain, as it is very similar to many in the cities there.

I got some new serving dishes from the ceramica at Purellana so they are displayed in the cabinet at the end, and I have brought some of my lounge decorations from the UK as well, so it is all looking very much like home now.

In my bedroom I brought over a new duvet for the bed, which matches the craft room things that I brought from the UK as well.

I had to choose only a small selection from the whole of my old craft room to bring, so the whole stash now fits into one wardrobe, in these three drawer units, two wardrobe drawers below those, and the hanging storage.

The Barbie crew are making themselves at home here, eagerly awaiting some proper storage units so that they can come out of the wardrobe!

We have been to the garden centre twice this week so the terrace is looking very lovely and colourful.

I bought 5 new pots when I was in Purellana, the three fully glazed ones that you can see in the pictures above, and two more of the decorated terracotta ones. I have a lovely selection of my favourite geraniums, some cyclamen, gerbera, kalanchoe, coleus and petunias, and some others that I don’t know the name of.

It is all looking very lovely now, just a few more pots and a firepit/bbq to add to it, and maybe some more solar lights. I do love to sit out in the evenings reading surrounded by solar lights and candles. The above picture also shows the new candle holder that I bought in Purellana, on the right here, which goes beautifully with one that my aunt bought me many years ago for Christmas.

It is very hot again today, it has gone back up to the high 20s and after a very busy few days I am having a day at home, as we will be busy all weekend with my cousin. The knitting group on Tuesday was very lovely, a really nice group of very welcoming people, as knitters so tend to be. There is also a sewing group that meets on Wednesdays that I am going to as well next week. It is lovely to meet people here who share my interests and I am looking forward to getting to know them better over the next couple of months.

I am planning to do some more making up of the latest Little Cotton Rabbits elephant this afternoon, and maybe a bike ride if it cools down this evening. I have Spanish conversation group again tomorrow so that will be a good opportunity to see if I can remember how to say the new things I have learned. Still I am having fun doing it and it is making sure that my brain is not turning to mush in retirement ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope that you enjoyed the little look at my new things, I am slowly getting the house sorted and getting into a nice routine with lots of fun things to do. I think the whole thing is becoming a little more real to me now, it feels less like a holiday and more like real life now. Especially when I consider that this would have been the start of the really busy marking period at work. To know that I never again have to read any 6,000 word essays is wonderful!

Have a good weekend ahead, hope you have something nice planned. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Life in rural Spain, swimming with fishes and a community pig!

On the Sunday we were with Ben and Amanda, they took us to the nearby village of Orce, about 15 minutes from Galera. They often go to the market there, as it is a source of the material for their cave house curtains and furnishings, as well as being a beautiful little place to wander round and have coffee.

On the way we stopped off at the local open-air pool, fed by the mountain springs. I was all for a little dip at some point in the future until I realised it was full of fish!

There are over a hundred bream of all sizes in the pool and you just swim amongst them. I am not a very confident swimmer, although I love it, and would not cope with having fish anywhere near me, but it is a lovely place in the summer with picnic areas and a playground.

The village of Orce has so many beautiful houses of all ages so there were lots of balconies and doors to look at, as well as the beautiful square with its ornate lamps.

There is also a large castle with seven towers, again part of the defences from when Moors controlled this part of Spain.

I really loved this window display, the profusion of pots and the beautiful flowers was stunning. I am planning to get some more plant holders for my terrace, not on the windows, but will do something similar there with pots that are all the same colour as I think that looks really good.

The church was stunning, with a lovely bell tower, with very loud bells. We were there during one of the services so just had a quick peek inside, another magnificent altar as always.

Outside the church we came across a little pig, with a ribbon and bell round its neck. It was licking the door of an old microwave that someone had left near the bins. A passing resident told us that this is the community pig, it wanders around the village and everyone leaves food out for it and they later share in the meat from the pig. It was a very cute little thing so I hope it has a happy life.

The centre of the village had a palace which is also a museum. It was closed, but we did get a peek inside and of course there were some stunning doors! The narrow streets and decoration on the houses was lovely, again so different to here where everything is so much newer.

We ended the morning with a drink in a cave house restaurant which was really lovely, and we had some excellent paella as a tapas there. That, and the very large quantities of lunch, a three course menu del dia with wine and coffee for 16 euros, meant that a little siesta was needed before joining Ben and Amanda in the village for our final evening.

A brilliant trip and I can’t wait to go back. I have had a very busy weekend, more house sorting and some entertaining, and a very good night out at a local tapas bar. My cousin arrives with her daughter for a few days this weekend so we will spend time with them and probably visit the market on Saturday.

I have joined a Spanish conversation group that meet on Fridays, so enjoyed that last week, and have found a knitting group, which I am going to go to tomorrow. It is lovely to be making new friends here and I am making the most of my 90 days before I will have to leave!

I have done a little bit of knitting, dungarees for the elephant I have been working on, but not much else. I have made some more masks, we are still wearing them here inside, and when you go into restaurant seating areas, even if they are outside, so needed a few more colours and some slightly lighter weight ones. There is no need to use them to keep your face warm as I was doing this time last year in the UK ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope that you all had a good weekend. I will be back next week with some more pictures from the UK tour, I think I just have the final part of my time in Wales, and all the museum things to show you. Until the have a good week, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A walk around Galera

Although we were only there for two full days Ben and Amanda took us around Galera, so that we could see the views, and more of the gorgeous cave houses. It is a stunning village, and I can see why they fell in love with it. It is surrounded by hills, where the cave houses are, with some really steep roads up to them. Amanda is an excellent driver but her nervous passengers had to close their eyes at some points.

We first of all went up to the hills behind their house, they are building a mirador, or viewpoint, that will extend out from this hill so they have created a footpath to it.

Their house is in this valley so you can’t see it from here. It was amazing looking down at all of the other cave houses here, there are beautiful roofs on many of them.

The other walk was down from the hills opposite the hotel. I had been looking up at these views every morning from my hotel room and it was fascinating to go and see these houses closer up. We went up to the hermitage that you can see on top of the hill in the left of this picture.

This is the oldest part of Galera and there is a historic trail with information boards about the citadel that was here, and the history of the village during the re-conquest, when this area was taken back from the Moors.

Some of these houses in the street in the photo above are rented out so Ellen and I are hoping to go and stay in one next autumn as she would love to visit the area. I would love to see inside this one, it looks so cute!

The village is very tightly packed in the centre, which makes for an amazing view over the roofs. Like many Spanish villages there are beautiful town houses with ornate doors and balconies.

The architecture is quite different to that here in La Marina in many ways, for a start the place is much older so the roofs have a very weathered look, this area was only built about 35 years ago. Also there are very different types of trees, very few palms and a lot of cypresses and mountain ash trees which give it a very Tuscan feel.

It was also fascinating to see all of the peppers hanging from people’s balconies to dry, most of the houses have them and they look beautiful.

It is still very warm here, but has cooled down a little to the low 20s so I am enjoying riding my bike in the evenings. I am still busy sorting things at the house, a trip to the garden centre is planned for next week so that I can fill all of my beautiful pots and I am hopefully going to buy a new sewing machine as well so that will be very exciting! I can’t wait to make some more Luna rabbits.

I hope that you have a nice weekend ahead, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Glorious goldwork of Guadix

It never ceases to amaze me what you find in the very small village and town churches in Spain, the altars, the icons and the sheer scale of things just leave me in awe, but even I was not expecting to find such exquisite and detailed goldwork in the Guadix pueblo.

The cave house area, although now a very popular tourist destination and with houses selling for well above average prices for Spain, was originally the area where the very poorest lived. Those who could not afford building material literally dug their own houses out of the hills. There is a short article here on more of the history of the area if you would like to read more, we visited Jose’s cave while we were there and it is a fascinating look at how people live. He just asks for a donation for your visit and has a very welcome fridge full of cold drinks for sale and also sells local honey.

Around the area there were various references to a priest, San Pedro Poveda, and I looked him up. He worked in the area providing education and set up teacher training to combat illiteracy in the area. His organisation was named after St Teresa of Avila, who is related to the order that I portray as a re-enactment character. Sadly he was executed for his beliefs at the start of the civil war in Spain. It is lovely to see his name and work remembered here.

We visited the church before the cave houses, I really loved the simple iron cross outside and the shadows that it made against the while walls.

Inside it was amazing, many of the icons that are used in the religious festivals were on display, and as always the costumes were stunning.

Further into the church there is a cave area and a cave house linked to that. They also had a little display of belen, nativities, from around the world. I loved their belen which is all set around cave houses.

Just around the corner from the cave house, in a little hidden room we came across the most amazing piece of goldwork that I have ever seen, even accounting for the marvellous work in Lorca.

I think what made it most amazing was its location. Not only was it so unexpected, whereas Lorca has many organisations creating the beautiful costumes for their Easter parades, but I have no idea why such a piece had been created for this small church. It looked to be very recent, and too large to be worn, though there was what looked like a priest’s cope and mantle beside it in the case.

The amount of work that has gone into this piece is amazing, many of the motifs are lilies, the symbol of the Virgin Mary, and have silverwork and shading, as well as goldwork.

I could not find any further information on its origin, only a small sign that I couldn’t translate so have no idea if it was made locally. A truly stunning piece of work and a testament to the skills of the makers.

I was sorting out my patterns yesterday and I have about 5 other goldwork pieces that I am intending make during retirement. I have only done a few, some as gifts, but one has come with me to Spain, my Tudor Rose.

This was made many years ago, in 2009 according to the blog post, and was based on one in the Elizabeth Hoare collection at Liverpool Cathedral that I blogged about here. This took me about 50 hours so I have no idea how long the goldwork in the church would have taken.

I mean to make a companion piece based on a pomegranate, which was the symbol of Catherine of Aragon, as well as being the symbol of Granada. Happy times with lots of lovely craft things planned! Today is a public holiday here so I am having a quiet day in, going to do my usual Spanish language practice, some knitting and then a bike ride later.

I hope that you are enjoying whatever you are doing this week, I will be back later on with more pictures from the Galera trip. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Cave house inspiration

So where do you go when you are trying to decide how to refurbish your own cave house? The local IKEA, while great for other furniture, may look a little out of place in something that dates back so many years, so Ben and Amanda have spent many happy hours in the cave house museums and open houses in Purellana and Guadix, about an hour from where they have their house.

I have briefly visited the cave house museum in Purellana, as we stopped there on the way to Seville when we did our coach trip. The picture above shows the view from one of the upper terraces of the museum. It is so stunning, you would never get bored of all the changes in the way the light hits the mountains.

It was lovely to go back for a more detailed look, especially as Amanda and the guide were able to discuss specifics, which was really interesting. They are trying to make their house as authentic as they can and so we spent a lot of time looking at the decor.

Although the ground floor of the museum is the house that the family live in, (you enter the museum though their kitchen!), the upper floors are a fascinating museum of artefacts from the 6 generations that have lived in the house. I loved the vintage sewing machine as a roof decoration!

We also enjoyed a visit to the two ceramicas in Purellana, we bought Ben and Amanda some beautiful reproduction storage jars, a little like these below, for their kitchen as a housewarming gift.

I came back with a suitcase full of garden pots and storage jars as I mentioned in the last post. I will show you those later in a separate post once the pots have been planted up. I have been doing a little refurbishment of my own house so will take some pictures once that is finished.

After a delicious lunch in the nearby town of Guadix we went up to the cave house area for a quick look round. This was the free tapas we had and my starter portion of tuna salad, you definitely will never go hungry here in Spain.

There was an open house to tour as well as the most beautiful church with some very unexpected goldwork, that will have a post of of its own as well later.

The views from the mirador, or viewing point, were amazing. As well as all the houses we could see the corral where they would have kept the horses and the wonderful rock formations that give this area such as distinctive look.

A truly wonderful day out, Guadix is definitely on my list to go back to for longer as the cathedral looked amazing, and it is accessible by train so I can go there by myself one day.

I have joined the gym and spa this week, they have the most wonderful array of jacuzzi pools and jets so we are off there again this afternoon, picture below is from their website.

I now have a monthly membership so will be going twice a week. I also got to take my bike out last night as it has cooled down a bit, it is only 22 degrees today which is lovely.

So I am finding lots of things to keep me busy, I don’t think I will at all bored for a very long time! Hope you are going to have a nice weekend and week ahead, I will be back early next week with more Guadix pictures. Until then have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Una habitat troglodita

The title of this post comes from the sign for the the cave house museum which we visited while we were staying in Galera, where Ben and Amanda have their cave house. We went there by coach, from the nearest large town of Elche, a lovely 4 hour journey to their nearest large town of Baza, so we got to see a lot more of my lovely Spain.

Galera is absolutely stunning, I will post more about the village in another post but it is so gorgeous, there are lots of cave house here, and the views from the top of the village over the mountains are amazing. You know how I love a good mountain!

It is situated 140 km from Granada, surrounded by mountain ranges and other gorgeous little towns. It is a very well supplied village with local shops and lovely bars, as well as a beautiful hotel, which we stayed at.

They have owned the house for nearly 4 years, and spent the previous 3 years searching all around the area for a house to buy. The one they chose was previously lived in by an older man who lived alone, but it had been in the family for years. This meant that many of the rooms had been blocked off, so they are slowly re-opening them and refurbishing the rest of the house. It looks amazing and they have spent so much time researching and visiting other houses and museums to get inspiration.

They often get asked if it has a door, which it does, and electric. All of the plumbing is located in the front of the house, in an extension, which is where the kitchen and bathroom are. This is on the right of the photo above, and everything else is built into the mountain. They have a little map on the wall in their front room showing its location.

They have 5 rooms open at the moment, plus the kitchen and bathroom, and have plans for many more as there is an upstairs as well. You can just see the only upstairs window in the picture of the front of the house, and they have two chimneys, for the fireplace in the snug, and the wood burner in the kitchen that they also use for cooking.

They have worked so hard on it, they are very practical people and are really good at woodwork and building. At their house in Huddersfield they have an outdoor eating area complete with bbq and pizza oven, and they are keen gardeners and wood turners. All of these skills have been really useful in this house. They plan to move here full time in about 4 years.

It also has amazing views, as the house next door, and all of the ones across the road, have also been restored. We spent two very lovely evenings sitting on their terrace looking out at the other houses, which are also stunning. The first picture below is their next- door neighbour’s house, and the others are the houses across the road and further up the street.

The front door leads into a lounge/reception area and then they have a bedroom and a room they have recently finished restoring, behind two curtains as those, rather than doors, help with the air flow. This new room has beautiful wooden beams in it, and the plan is for that to be a study.

Going right from the reception you have a snug, which has the original fireplace and built in alcove shelves. They are having the chimney altered this week, and then they will be able to use the fireplace, rather than the gas heater.

The snug is a really cosy room and leads on to the kitchen and bathroom. They have built the kitchen shelves themselves with reclaimed tiles and have a very cute sink with very unusual taps, which is due to be tiled soon.

Leading back from the snug is another room that is nearly finished, which will become a dining room, and then some work in progress rooms behind there. They are having to use lots of different building methods, depending on the condition of the rooms and the original material, as there are lots of different layers in the rock. It is very much like their own geological museum as they have mica and silica growths coming out of the walls and an amazing layer of mini stalactites in the upper rooms.

I particularly loved their damp meters in the rooms that they are working on at the moment, this t-shirt has been hung to check how the rooms are drying out. There is so much that they have had to understand about the physics of all the materials that they are working with.

They have already redone one set of stairs, but the additional ones to the upper floor are still in their original state. The upper rooms are also in their original state and will need complete refurbishment, a job I am hoping to go and help with in future years!

There is access on to the roof, where there is a small terrace. A couple of years ago they were able to buy the adjoining garage, and their plan is to make the top of that into a roof terrace, with the lower area becoming a workshop, outdoor kitchen and garden area.

The whole place is amazing, they are so enthusiastic about excited about their plans and it was so lovely to see it after hearing so much about what they were doing. We had the most brilliant time visiting other cave house places and eating delicious food so I will be back later in the week to tell you about that.

I have a busy week planned, like most recently retired people I don’t know where I found the time to work! I am practising my Spanish everyday, both out and about, and through You Tube lessons and the Duolingo app.

I have some more practical things to do this week as I am having some small alterations done to my house. I also bought some more pots at the ceramica when we were away, so a trip to the garden centre is planned, and there are also a couple of nights out with friends. I have done a little bit of crafting, mainly knitting so must make up the animals that are finished and then get on with the rest of the craft supply purchases.

I hope that you have had a good weekend and have a nice week ahead. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.